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Pacifist challenge?

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Has anyone ever tried to play through a Geneforge game (any of the five) relying entirely on stealth/leadership/mechanics methods to win the game? I know that is hypothetically supposed to be possible to beat the game without striking a blow yourself (or via a creation). I'm just curious if any has tried it; I think I might (in G3, since that's the only Geneforge game I have).

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Yes, that's what I done so far. So in the Under The School starting area of G3, I didn't personally kill any worms, but there's nothing wrong with leading them to Therese and letting her kill them. For times when I need to kill something, that'll have to be the way. The goal is to use stealth/leadership/mechanics and the terrain/npcs rather than fighting myself. Well, I'm going to try it. Playing a Guardian (since he starts with more mechanics/leadership than the other classes), and probably staying loyal to the Shapers, just because I sympathize with them more in G3. I know I won't be able to access or clear all zones, but I want to try to beat the game at least.

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Well, in G5, you need to kill either Talis-Eye or the Dark Golem to progress. In G4, Monarch needs to be 86'd. In G3, you need to eliminate the Creator on the firs isle to get the boat, IIRC. That leaves G2 and G1. G2 requires you to kill Easss to get a non-Taker ending, and to kill Rhakkus to get the Taker ending. I think it would only be possible in G1. I would try the Taker-help-Trajkov ending, so neither of the endgame bosses would be killed. You could probably make it through the zones with difficulty, but it would be doable, if only on Easy. (runs off to try it)

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There is a leadership option in GF3 to deal with the Creator on the first island, but you miss out on that neat sword.


GF5 allows you to recruit the golems in the Stoneworks that will eventually kill everything if you keep healing them. It's all that sneaking around to get past certain areas that can't be cleared as a pacifist so you can jump past them on the map.

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Strictly speaking, you don't ever have to strike a blow with yourself or your own creations: in every essential fight in G4 or G5, you can get allies to do the fighting for you, or otherwise kill your opponent without directly attacking. It's a bit of a legalistic way of thinking about the challenge, I'll admit.

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The story so far:


(Just to be clear: when I say “clear” an area, I mean make it green on the map, not exterminate all enemies in the zone. :-) )


Made it out from Under the School by running from the worms until I got to Therese, then used her to kill them.


Led some enemies in the Shaper school to the servant mind’s room, and used NPC Stover to kill the wound alpha at the front the door.


South End is a clear area.


Sneaked through Eastern Road to clear it; must sneak (in combat mode) to routes to both Testing Grounds and Minefield Woods.


Defuse mines in Minefield Woods.


Kentia South Gate, Kentia East Gate, and For Kentia are clear, or cleared just by walking through. The commander in Fort Kentia can be leadershipped into letting you leave if you just find out what the threat on the island is.


Testing Grounds are cleared just by walking through.


Captured Bridge can be cleared by running up to the bridging and Leadershipping the thahd guard away.


Sneaked through the Inner Mine zone.


In Lair of the Creator, I presume just see the creator monster and then returning to Commander Hevvig would be enough to leave the island, but with Leadership 10 I shut down the creator.


I haven't personally inflicted any damage on anything yet; any monsters killed were slain by NPCs completely out of my control, or by dialogue options (i.e. the creator). It really is interesting to see what options and paths Jeff put into the game to enable one to get around straight out fighting.

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Harmony Isle


East Harmony Dock started cleared.


Swampy Shore just has to be walked through.


Southern Marsh wasn’t cleared, but I can sneak through it relatively easily.


San Ru is a friendly town.


Roamer Marsh can be cleared by sneaking/mine-defusing through enough of it.


Methane Swamp is tricky because it’s easy to get surrounded by Pyroroamer and trapped, but can be cleared if you manage to run in combat mode all the way across the zone.


Dhonal Docks is automatically cleared.


Gatherer Camp is either auto-cleared or cleared just by walking around a bit.


Rebel Peninsula is cleared by deactivating the shield generat- ah, rather, by deactivating the power spiral, which can be done via sneaking methods that avoid the rogues.


Rebel Camp is an auto-clear.


Infested Pathway: just run through with Diwaniya’s creations; run run run or it’s bad.


Madness Mire: just run for the trapdoor in the center.


Twin mind tunnels: can be beat just letting Diwaniya’s creations beat up on stuff.


An easier route to beat Harmony Isle (and the pro-rebel way) would be to just fetch Lankan’s canister and deliver it to him. The San Ru Tunnels are relatively easy to mechanic and sneak through for everything important.


Southern Marsh and Vlish Woods seem to require killing to clear, so I cannot do them. Rather annoying, actually. Also cannot do the place with all the undead at Dhonal Docks.


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Originally Posted By: Randomizer
You can always come back when you are more charming and convince them to fight each other. There are several areas that clear after enough die.

The pacifist challenge pretty much means that you can't clear all zones.

Eh...mental magic is of course a well-established strategy, but I've been looking to see how much I can get done apart from those...although I supposed technically using it wouldn't involved inflicting any damage...huh. And yes, some zone are definitely impossible to clear, or even explore (to say nothing of many impossible quests), but again that's part of the goal, to see how much can really be done relying on stealth, diplomacy, and mechanical skill.
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  • 6 years later...

Seven years later, I’m going to try to finish this.


Finish what? In the tutorial section of each Geneforge game (except maybe G1?), Jeff basically says if you find the enemies too difficult, there will always be an alternative to fighting so that you can reach your goal. I wanted to test that and discover just what means he put in the game to get through without fighting. What if, hypothetically, somehow I created a build that was too weak to ever win any combat, how would I get through the game? I am relying stealth, mechanics, leadership, allied NPCs, and any other environmental features all the way, never taking direct action against an enemy.


To my surprise, I found my saved game was farther along than I remembered. I knew I got through Harmony Isle (as the notes farther up in this thread reported, but I apparently cleared a bunch of Dhonal’s Isle, too. I don’t recall how I got through the bulk of Dhonal’s Isle seven years ago, but I’ll pick up where the saved game is and try to recount how I ninja my way through the rest of G3.


On Dhonal’s Isle, I have cleared (turned green) every zone except Darkstone Core and Spharon’s Lands, plus the cluster of zones at the very western end of the island.


Overgrown Road: sent the shaper army NPCs to attack, followed along using some healing and curing spores to give a little support (which in the end I don’t think they really even needed), but the NPCs did all the fighting.


Searing Chambers: Just a matter of sneaking carefully and using mechanics. It’s a little tricky figuring out what path to follow through all the hazards, but very feasible.


Creator’s Hall: You can complete this by either fixing or killing the Creator monster. If you side with the creator and repair it, it easily trounces Shaper Erika. If you side with Erika against it, things are more dicey, but she will kill it. I had to heal her and her creations multiple times, and heal myself repeatedly as well; had I not done so, the Creator would have won the day.


Onward to the next island!


Gull South Dock: just walk through and it’s clear.


Cultists’ Woods: The first time you pass through, you can talk the guards on the road out of attacking you. However, that doesn’t clear the zone, and the next you come through, they will attack. Annoying, but oh well. I wonder if this is a bug?


Beastkeeper Woods: can’t clear it, but can sneak through relatively easily. It’s annoying that you can’t clear either of the zones leading to the docks, though.


Stonespire: a friendly town.


Display Warren: This is a mech / lead / stealth zone, easily passable.


Clawbug Infestation: it is possible to run through this underground zone (getting whacked quite a bit along the way), but it's rather difficult and isn’t really worth the effort.


Breeding Caverns: start off with an application of Leadership and then focus on sneaking and you’ll clear the zone.

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Gull North Docks: You can run around dodging rogues fairly easily, but can’t clear the zone.


Crumbling Lab: You explore most of the area by dodging rogues. You can lead some to Diamant and she’ll kill them for you. This zone be cleared by exploring enough of it; I think maybe the trick is to reach all the exists of the zone?


Tower Gates: You can defuse the mines or sneak past the turrets to reach the exit and clear the zone.


Khyryk’s Tower: friendly town. By sneaking + Mechanics, you can deactivate the pylons. You can talk the drayk into helping you fight Khyryk, and you can use mechanics to blow up the giant crystal pillar to hurt him.


The Tower Path: It’s tough but possible to run like crazy through this zone from one end to the other, which clears it.


Cultist Freehold: this zone seemed to be automatically cleared as soon as I entered it. Huh. It’s also possible to run / mechanic your way across the lower half of the map without engaging the horde of enemies to the north.

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Is each 'political' path viable via this route or are you essentially limited to particular options? Clearly the thing with the Creator can go both ways but in the end is it feasible to kill the final bosses from either perspective? I'm curious to see how this goes.

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Khyryk’s Tower, continued: I apparently did something wrong. The game script shows an option to tell Khyryk you’ve come to kill him. I must have clicked something wrong at some point because that option doesn’t show up for me. If I had to guess, maybe the option to tell Khyryk you want to kill him goes away after you do a quest for him (investigating Agatha’s mansion or something)? I know I saw it when I first met Khyryk, but it's gone now. For the sake of my experiment, I "cheated" on my rules and hit Khyryk once to start the fight (since I was supposed to be able to start that fight via dialogue). After you’ve initiated the conflict with Khyryk, you can recruit Zyoss the drayk to help you, and you can overload the big crystal pillar to hurt Khyryk (or at least I presume it has that effect). It took me several tries, but with careful use of healing and buffing items to help Zyoss, the drayk was able to kill Khyryk.


Khor's Deep: after I killed Khyryk, I reported to Elek in Stonespire and got orders to go to Spears. If you visit Khor's Deep before you're a committed Rebel, everyone is hostile, but now I'm able to waltz right through, and reaching the boat clears the zone.

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Finishing Gull Island as a Shaper:


The Maker’s Road: you can talk your way past some servile guards on the road. Unlike the weird group on the Cultist Road zone, these guys will stay friendly when you come back. Zone is not cleared until you free Agatha (shaper route). I assume there’s a way to clear this zone as a Rebel, but I’m not sure what that would be.


Maker’s End (zone nested within The Maker’s Road): do some Mechanics, some sneaking, and then be patient – the pylons will eventually kill Omen Eye, but they are really poky about it and inflict relatively little damage at a time.


Khor’s Deep: I cleared this zone by running through it, past all the enemies, to the boat. This allowed me to spare Hoge; we’ll see if that affects the ending.


Okay, on to the endgame (as a Shaper):


Spears East Dock: I think this is automatically cleared.


Besieged Camp: As a Shaper, this is cleared when you reach Shapers’ camp.

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Breeding Valley: you can pretty easily run across this map; can’t clear it, though.


Icy End: it’s not too hard to dash around the town, either. Can’t clear it, though. You can chat up Mooralas, though, if you’re interested in hearing his story.


Beneri-Eo Gates: You run up to the end of the valley and talk to Litalia, but then you’ve got to hustle back out before the enemies trap you from behind.


Southern Gates: You can’t get inside Beneri-Eo from here, but you can run around a bit; some of the monsters here seem to actively come looking for you, instead of just saying put until you visit them, making stealth exploration more challenging than usual.


Spire Forest: You can talk Khossos into not fighting you. You can Mechanic your way through the trapped cave. You apparently can’t clear the zone, though.


Mushroom Cave: this zone is meant for sneaking – sneak through, get the servant mind to unlock the door (you’ll need high leadership or some mind food you could have found on Gull), and you’ll gain access to the zone in this path. You should remember to go report this entrance to the shaper camp, though, and tell them to go that way to attack (since you’ll be using them to do a lot of the dirty work in the final zone). Oddly, you DO clear this zone by passing through it (unlike most of the others on Isle of Spears).

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  • 3 weeks later...

Shaper Endgame, continued:


Benerii-Eo Vat Core: First you’ll meet some noxious vats which you can just run past, with the added bonus of deactivating them if you want. Then you’ll find two paths, both of which require you to trip an alarm to proceed. These activate golems that start patrolling and require sneakiness to avoid. In the southwest corner, there two controls you need to use – one deactivates the alarms / the golems, the other opens the door to the zone. Using both will clear the zone.


Benerii-Eo Labs: don’t bother going here. Bad, bad place. Stay away if you’re playing pacifist.


The Geneforge: First step, you’ll need 16 (I think?) Leadership to talk your way past Litalia. Then run around all sneaky through the back tunnels and use mechanics to sabotage Akhari’s machinery. Run over some hot pads, find levers to deactivate others. There are three sets of machinery that make creations of Akhari that you can sabotage. From Litalia, you’ll need to go west to find the shapers, south and then east through the tunnels to get to two of the machines. But you’ll need to go back to Litalia, go a little south of her and loop back east to get to the other machine. If the hot pads do major damage to you, you’ve missed a lever somewhere. If they do just a little damage, you’re probably on the right track. Then just let the shapers and the creations from the meddled machinery do the dirty work for you.


BOOM. Geneforge 3 completed as a Shaper without ever having to strike a blow or make a creation.

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Do the later games work the same? I feel that Jeff strayed a little from this style in the later Geneforge games so that actual fighting is required a bit more.


Still, this was an incredible achievement. I didn't think it was possible to go 100% pacifist.

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Wait what? I haven't finished GF3, so I won't read any of this, but is it really possible to end GF3 without landing a blow or making a creation?


"Indeed, Daniel Jackson." That was the entire point of this thread. I never hit an enemy, used a creation, or cast a spell on an enemy.* Relying entirely on Leadership, Mechanics, stealth, and friendly NPCs or other environmental features, I completed the game as a Shaper. I plan to complete the game as a Rebel, too, I just haven't gotten around to that yet. Jeff fulfilled his promise and *really did* make it possible that if any point in the game you got stuck and the enemies were too hard, there would be an alternative path, a way to advance without without depending on your personal fighting ability. Of course there are plenty of quests and zones that you cannot clear or complete, if you play the way I did.


*The one exception to this so far is in my Rebel game. When you first visit Khyryk, there is a speech option to say you came to kill him. I wasn't ready to kill him right then, however. When I came to actually kill him, that speech option had vanished, meaningful I was forced to hit him once myself in order to initiate the fight sequence. I relied on other things to actually defeat Khyryk, but I had to poke him once just to turn him hostile.


Do the later games work the same? I feel that Jeff strayed a little from this style in the later Geneforge games so that actual fighting is required a bit more.


I assume the later games work the same. I'm pretty sure they all share a promise, issued somewhere in the tutorial section or on the loading screens or wherever, that there are multiple paths to your goal, including one that doesn't rely on fighting. I am actually more confident that pacifist runs are possible in the later games, and a lot less sure about the first two games. I know G1 and G2 provide mechanical or leadership paths around some problems, but there are also points in those games where I can't recall any non-combat solutions to some situations.


I enjoyed this play-through. It turned the game into a very interesting puzzle, forcing me to look at elements within the game differently than I ever did before.

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I finished off my Shaper run at Level 28. I could probably have gotten a little higher, had I made more effort to chase down some quests in the latter half of the game, but I really didn't need anything. You need Mechanics, Leadership, and beyond that your healing and blessing magic skills can be useful (the buffing and healing spells can let you help out friendly NPCs, or keep yourself alive if you need to run through a group of enemies, for example).


Also, getting the Crystalline Shroud was HUGE. The +2 action points makes a massive difference in your ability to run around dodging enemies.

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Rebel Endgame


Spears East Dock: auto-cleared. I skipped the arrival fight by just running west to Icy End.


Icy End: auto-cleared. You needed to talk to Nazar to advance further with the Rebels, but Leadership will solve your problem with him.


Breeding Valley: auto-cleared.


Besieged Camp: you can walk around here fairly easily. I was able to poke my head into the Shaper cave and lure them out, leading them to the patrolling cryoas who killed them. You have to be careful that they don’t kill you before they get distracted by the cryoas, but it’s doable. Getting the three named shapers killed clears the zone.


Southern Gates: Just as dangerous as when you’re a Shaper. You can get here through Benerii-Eo Labs, unlock the gate, and thus clear the area.


Spire Forest: you can talk Khossos into leaving you alone, and for some reason although this didn’t clear the zone when I was a Shaper, it does clear the zone as a Rebel.


Mushroom Cave: I think this is cleared after you talk to the servant mind and tell it to open the doors to the next zone.


Benerii-Eo Gates: Pass the tests and you’ll clear the zone. You can use Leadership to satisfy the requirements. Oddly enough, when you swear loyalty to the Rebels, you can select truth or lie, and satisfy the test either way. Which is weird since you’re already locked into being a rebel.


Benerii-Eo Labs: well, this is a lot more pleasant as a Rebel. Cross the area to clear it. You can talk Tigh-Eye into letting you pass. And you should. I thought about using the Purification Crystal to kill rogue golem…but the golem basically kills me on sight, and I never get the chance to lead it anywhere.


Benerii-Eo Vat Core: You clear this area easily by entering from the Labs and using the machine to turn off the alarms / golems.


And that's it for tonight. Hopefully one more session will let me polish this off.



Tangent: I wish the idea of defecting Shapers hadn’t dropped from the series after G3. In G2 you had several Shapers who joined either the Barzites (including Barzhal himself) or the Awakened. In G3, you had Litalia, Hoge, Mooralas, that smith-guy on Gull whose name I forget, Greta, and potentially the PC. All these were Shaper characters who for a variety of motivations joined another side. Some are idealists, some are purely selfish, some actively serve the cause, some are passive collaborators. All the defectors represented, or had the potential to represent, interesting points of view, people who began from a foundation of Shaper orthodoxy and then made some accommodation to rebellious attitudes and actions. After G3, the only Shaper-turned-rebel characters to appear are holdovers from G3 (Greta, Litalia, and I guess Khyryk). The PC even ceased to be a Shaper, being instead either an avowed rebel or some rogue monstrosity of sketchy alignment.

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G2 has mechanics or leaderships paths for most of the endgame quests. Not sure if it's actually all of them, but definitely a lot. It does have that same promise though in the tutorial.

You should be able to do the main quests of GF4 and GF5 on normal difficulty if you have enough leadership and mechanics to recruit helpers for the zones where you have to kill some one. You will spend a lot of time buffing and healing them since they are scripted to fight in certain orders. Plan on spending time just running through certain zones to "clear" them.


I never tried the whole games, but I got at least through the first half testing pacifist tricks.

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I mean, once G4 happens and the M.O. of the Drakons becomes clear, it's hard to imagine the motivation for Shapers to defect entirely to the Rebels. You do have Shapers defecting to less absolutist points of view a la Astoria. There's less of that, but you also have a context of war, rather than the G1/2 context of "centuries of unquestioned peace plus amazing new compelling power."

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You should be able to do the main quests of GF4 and GF5 on normal difficulty if you have enough leadership and mechanics to recruit helpers for the zones where you have to kill some one.


I understand that on higher difficulties, the enemies are more powerful (thus the reason Mental Magic, which uses their strength against them, scales especially well on higher difficulties). Do friendly NPCs not experience a similar buffing process when you raise the difficulty setting?

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On harder difficulties, the health multiple works against you in prolonging fights where you have to kill things. You spend so much of your time healing the NPCs helping you even in a non-pacifist game that it is questionable on whether you finish certain boss fights like the Shaper ending of GF5.

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Rebel Endgame:


The Geneforge: Weird business here. If I click on Litalia to talk to her, the dialogue indicates I’m a rebel. But if I walk up near her, dialogue pops up that her talking to me as if I’m a Shaper. If I carry on that conversation, she becomes hostile, but if I just hit the Escape button to close out the dialogue box, she remains friendly.


Chadwick Prison: Be sneaky. Avoid the enemies, steal Chadwick’s key, and boom, you’re free.


Dhonal’s Keep version 2.0: it’ll really help if you messed up the Golems earlier in the game so that they won't bother you. It’s also helpful to enter the zone from the south gate; run east and follow the back alley north. Enter the door at the far northeast corner, and use the trap door to sneak into the Inner Keep.


Inner Keep version 2.0: take the corridor along the eastern side. Slip into the prison area by the side door.


And that’s it. Apparently my game is bugged? Because the imprisoned drakon that I was counting on to kill Rahul for me…isn’t there. I assume that if he were, I’d be able to lead him to Rahul, buff him, slay the foe, and escape. Since he's glitched out (?), there is literally no way for me kill Rahul that would be in keeping with the parameters of this play-through.


Has anyone else ever used the drakon imprisoned in the inner keep to help them kill Rahul? If you have, that would confirm that issue is just my save and not a problem with the game itself.


This brings my pacifist challenge G3 experiment to a close.

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